A Female Nephila from Zhaotong

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I took this picture of a female Nephila sp. near Zhaotong, north-eastern Yunnan, on August 10, only about two hours before a 5.6 earthquake hit Zhaotong. The Chinese have studied watching animal behavior to predict big earthquakes, but if this Nephila knew the earthquake was coming, she didn't tell me. The genus Nephila is common to tropical regions around the world, and I had a species where I lived (1985-1995) on the Colombian Llanos. They were the biggest web-spider that we had there. The web spun by Nephila is the strongest fiber occuring in nature. It is much stronger than a piece of steel of equal weight. The Nephila webs are sometimes built across trails in the jungle. I have been walking down a trail and suddenly walked face-first into a Nephila web. The first few times, it shook me up, but then I learned to watch for them, and they became one of my favorite spiders. I also saw many Nephila at a Buddhist temple near Dali, in far western Yunnan.

Posted by Brian at 3:24 PM  


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